Tag Archives: Election Day

Going to vote early … on the first day

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

I cannot even believe I am saying this, but I must blurt it out.

Texas opens its polling places for early voting on Oct. 13. I intend to be among the first in line to cast my ballot for president of the United States of America.

I will be wearing my mask. I’ll have my spray-on hand sanitizer in my pocket. I will keep a socially distant space between myself and the total strangers with whom I intend to be standing.

You see, this represents a monumental sea change for yours truly. I am one who is wedded to the pageantry of voting on Election Day. I have enjoyed Election Day voting since I cast my first ballot in the spring of 1972 when I voted in Oregon’s Democratic primary.

Every presidential election year since has seen my wife and me troop to the polls on Election Day.

Not this year.

The coronavirus pandemic has me worried about getting infected. My wife is even more militant about the measures we need to take than I am. Texas isn’t likely to join several other states in requiring mail-in voting, given our state’s political leadership and its fealty to Donald Trump, who suggests — wrongly, I have to say — that mail-in voting is fraught with corruption. He’s lying.

So my wife and I will troop to the polls on Oct. 13. We will cast our votes as early as possible. We want them logged into the high-powered electronic system they use in Collin County. I heard this week that the Allen Event Center will open as a voting center for county residents. It is a spacious venue that will enable voters to practice social distancing while casting their ballots. I will be there among those early voters.

You know who will get my presidential vote. It won’t be the incumbent. Joe Biden wasn’t my first choice among the huge field of Democrats running initially. Indeed, I really never found anyone among the field who stood out.

Biden is the last man standing. He endured the grueling process. He won a key endorsement on the eve of the South Carolina primary, which he then won handily … and he never looked back.

So now I’m all in for Joe.

The process through which he gets my support, though, is the element I want to underscore. We live in perilous times as the nation battles a pandemic that continues to kill Americans at a heartbreaking rate. I do not want to risk becoming infected.

So, if voting early enables me to do my civic duty proudly while staying safe from a killer virus, that’s the way it’s going to be.

Mind made up: going to vote early

I will vote early, but certainly not often, which would be corrupt, yes?

My wife and I have talked about whether we should vote early in this election cycle. We both have decided that, by golly, yes we will.

It gives me the nervous jerks to admit such a thing. I have written often over many years about my aversion to early voting in elections when I can vote on Election Day. This year, under certain circumstances, we have decided we’re going to avoid the crowd and vote early at a polling place to be announced soon by Collin County election officials. My concern centers on the fear that the candidate who gets my vote might mess up between the time I cast the ballot and when they count the ballots.

The coronavirus pandemic has frightened me sufficiently to forgo my usual Election Day routine.

I am not sure whether we’ll have vote by mail in Texas. Our state attorney general, Republican Ken Paxton, is vowing to resist voting in that fashion. He has swilled the Donald Trump Kool-Aid that makes him think all-mail voting is corrupt. It isn’t.

If Texas is not going to allow voting by mail, then I intend to vote early to ensure that my ballot gets logged in and that my wife and I can have our voices heard on who we want elected president of the United States.

Spoiler alert: It ain’t Donald J. Trump! It will be Joseph R. Biden Jr.!

The president is seeking to undermine the integrity and efficiency of our state and local election systems. He keeps harping on the specious and phony threat of corruption.

Our household intends to vote early to protect ourselves against exposure to the killer virus from a big Election Day crowd. I don’t expect Texas to join those states that have used all-mail voting with great success. We do a good job in Texas, though, in conducting early voting.

So … early voting will have to do.

Voter fraud lie creates more secure system?

It occurs to me that Donald Trump’s incessant, relentless lying about “rampant voter fraud” involving mail-in voting might have a positive outcome.

Trump’s fraudulent assertion has alerted state and local election officials to do all they can to ensure voting security.

Indeed, Trump’s aim is to suppress voter turnout. More voters, in Trump’s view, means less likelihood that he’ll be re-elected on Nov. 3. That’s OK with me. I also favor greater turnout because is spreads electoral power among more people, diluting the power and influence of special interests.

I tend to favor in-person voting. I likely will vote in person on Election Day. However, I have no qualms about voting by mail if Texas election officials hand me that option in time for the presidential election. Am I concerned that my vote won’t count? No. Not in the least.

Indeed, all this attention being paid to Trump’s specious and malicious assertions of “rampant fraud” is likely to make mail-in voting even more secure than it already is in the states that allow or require it.

I have been able to watch local election officials do their job with professionalism. My career in print journalism gave me an up close look at county clerks in Oregon and in Texas, where I practiced my craft for nearly 37 years. They all performed their duties with professionalism. They were conscientious about the integrity of the system they managed.

Now that Donald Trump has raised a phony specter of “rampant voter fraud,” it stands to reason that he has alerted the officials on the front line of this process to be sure it remains safe and secure.

Thanks, Mr. President.

Now … shut the hell up!

Feels like the first time

Anxiousness is setting in as I await Election Day.

To be candid, I do not believe I have felt quite like this prior to a presidential election since, oh, the first time I was able to cast my ballot. That was in 1972. A long time ago, yes? However, I do have much the same sense of anticipation that I felt way back when I was so much younger.

I want this outcome to turn out the right way. I want Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. to be elected president over Donald John Trump Sr. I want Trump banished from the White House, from my house, from your house.

I was a freshly scrubbed registered voter in 1972 when I got to vote for the first time. I had served my country in the U.S. Army. I returned home from my two-year stint impassioned to change the course of the nation. The Vietnam War was raging. I had gotten a look at that war up close for a bit of time and came away more confused about it than I was when I arrived there in the spring of 1969. They were still shooting guns, dropping bombs and killing people with the same regularity when I left as when I arrived.

I wanted that war to end.

I lined up behind Sen. George McGovern. I wanted President Nixon to lose the election. I wanted then, as I do now, a dramatic course correction for our nation. It didn’t work out well for us then. Nixon was bigly, as in really huge.

That’s where the symmetry between then and now ends.

Many presidential elections have come and gone, of course. Some of them turned out the way I preferred. Some of them went the other way. The nation survived. I feared we might not survive the 1972 election result. It turned out that another matter, Watergate, intervened to take care of things for us. Nixon quit less than two years later.

I am sensing much the same anxiousness now as I was then. Add a bit of anxiety, and you might grasp a bit more the importance I am attaching to ridding the nation of the repulsive conduct of our commander in chief.

Yep, it feels like the first time.

Wishing media could dial back Biden’s poll reporting

The media are having a field day reporting on Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s spectacular poll ratings against Donald J. Trump Sr.

Biden is leading Trump by double digits, the media tell us. Biden is leading Trump in virtually all the critical “swing states,” they report. Biden might already have enough Electoral College votes in the bank to assure his election in November, the reporting continues.

I want the media to dial it back. Why? Because it is beginning to fill me with a sense of hope that might not hold up as we head down the stretch toward Election Day.

My memory is vivid on some things. One of those matters involves what the media reported at this stage of the 2016 campaign. They said Hillary Clinton would cruise to an easy election.

I bought that narrative four years ago. I was so confident that I attended an election-night watch party with my wife at some friends’ house in Amarillo. We went there expecting Hillary Clinton to make a victory speech upon getting the concession call from Donald Trump.

Uhh, it didn’t happen. My worst political nightmare came to pass on election night 2016.

I am acutely aware that Joe Biden doesn’t carry nearly the negative baggage that Clinton did against Trump. I also am aware that much of Trump’s message that sold against Clinton is hitting the deck with a thud against Biden.

We have an economy in collapse, the nation’s response to the pandemic has been disastrous. Trump is campaigning against his own record as president, if you allow me to parse the rhetoric he keeps using.

I know the media have a role to play and a job to do. Part of all that is to tell us what the polling is telling us about the race as it develops. It’s just making me nervous.

Hoping our national nightmare ends in four months

President Gerald Ford told us our “long national nightmare” ended the moment in August 1974 when his predecessor resigned from office and jetted off to oblivion.

I am hoping for a return of a similar moment when we get the ballots counted in November. My sincere hope is that Joseph R. Biden Jr. gets many more votes than Donald J. Trump Sr., that he wins a sufficient number of Electoral College votes to be elected president and that the incumbent will start packing up his belongings and jet off somewhere far away from the White House.

The process could get cumbersome if Trump decides to declare the election is “rigged” or that a foreign power “stole” it from the people of this country. The irony of such a declaration would be remarkable, to be sure, given what happened in 2016 when the Russians attacked our electoral system. Trump collected fewer actual votes than Hillary Clinton but garnered enough electoral votes to become president.

It’s been a disastrous run ever since. Trump can boast, brag and bloviate all he wants about what a “fantastic” job he’s done. He hasn’t. He has made a mess of our international alliances, torched every possible norm associated with the presidency, alienated the nation from the rest of the world and behaved like the first-class boor we all knew he was when he declared his candidacy.

There’s far more at stake than just the presidency. I want to see the Senate change hands, from Republican to Democratic control. I want to see a newly elected president work with lawmakers of both parties, something Biden has been able to do while serving in the Senate and then for two terms as vice president.

You see, we have received a real-time lesson in how the presidency is far too big a responsibility for someone who requires on-the-job training. What’s more, that someone at least needs to understand the necessity of learning about history, about government and about the limitations of power inherent in the office he inherited. Donald Trump has no interest in any of that. None!

I want a return to good government. Not necessarily big government. Just a government that works.

I hope we get it in just a little less than four months from now. I don’t want to wish my life away, but I also hope that time between now and Election Day goes quickly. I am weary of the chaos.

Wanting to banish 2020 … be gone!

I am not one to wish away entire years.

Usually I take them as they come, slogging through the events as they transpire. I then wait for the ball to drop in Times Square and welcome the new year.

This year is vastly different. 2020 has been a serious downer, as in uber serious, man.

Right around the first month of the year we began getting word that some folks in China had been stricken by something called a “coronavirus.” Then … just like that it became a pandemic.

Donald John Trump, the “very stable genius” who runs the executive branch of our government, blew it off. It’ll disappear like a miracle, he said. Fifteen cases and — poof! — it’ll be gone. Well, it hasn’t just vanished. It has killed more than 115,000 Americans. Many more will die. The economy shut down, sending us into a recession. Trump resisted the seriousness of it. Then it dawned on him: Hey, we’d better do something; I mean, I’ve got a re-election campaign to run and those jobless numbers won’t look good as I campaign for another term.

And then came George Floyd’s death. The Minneapolis cops killed him after arresting him for trying to pass a counterfeit bill — allegedly. His death has ignited a firestorm of protest and recrimination. It’s still blazing out of control.

I want the year to end. First things first, though. We have this election coming up. I want Trump to be defeated by Joe Biden. I want POTUS gone from the White House. My preference would be that he escorted by the cops, maybe even the Marines who guard the White House.

I do have a serious concern about that election. It is that the coronavirus pandemic is going to frighten folks, keep them from voting. That plays in Trump’s wheelhouse. He proclaims a phony belief in “rampant voter fraud” if we vote by mail, which is his way of covering his a** against a big turnout that would boot his sorry backside out of office.

States should enact policies that enable voters to cast their ballots in a safe and secure manner. Texas isn’t likely to be one of them, as we are governed by Trumpkin Republicans who are faithful more to the man than to the Constitution they all swore to protect.

We’ll get through it. I just want the election to turn out the way I prefer. The rest of the year? I want it gone.

We vote in secret for a good reason

I guess it’s almost becoming a sort of parlor game.

We are watching and waiting for key Republicans to throw Donald Trump under the bus while declaring their intention to vote for Joe Biden this fall in the presidential election.

It’s futile, folks.

One of those Republicans, former President Bush, has said a recent New York Times story proclaiming he wouldn’t support his fellow Republican, Trump, is “totally made up.” He won’t engage in the political debate, but a spokesman for Bush said the former president hasn’t told anyone how he intends to vote this fall.

That is as it should be.

Colin Powell said he is voting for Biden. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee for president, is likely to cast Trump aside. It’s being reported that Cindy McCain, wife of the late Sen. John McCain, is going to support her good friend Joe Biden in the fall.

So what? Does any of this matter? I say “no!” … with emphasis.

My hope is that when conscientious Republicans — be they officeholders or just plain folks — cast their ballots that they vote their conscience. Were I one of them I would be hard-pressed to vote for someone — even if we share the same party affiliation — who has denigrated the highest office in the land the way this clown has done.

And so, whether these public pronouncements — or denials of reported pronouncements — mean anything remains to be scene.

It does produce some tittering among the gossipers out there.

The founders got it so very right when they said we could vote in the privacy of a polling booth. No one has to know anything about the choices we make on Election Day. It’s a good way to protect citizens against political pressure or coercion.

We’ll keep playing the parlor game, though, for the next several months as the election draws near. It’s good to keep this in mind: Politicians have every right to change their mind once they walk into the polling booth.

Let’s not, then, place too much stock on what they say this far out.

Still prefer old-fashioned voting method, unless danger lurks

Readers of this blog know already that I prefer voting in person on Election Day, standing in a voting booth, selecting my candidates in secret.

That is how I would like to vote for president of the United States on Nov. 3. However, circumstances — and you know what they are — might force all of us to change the way we cast our ballots.

I am OK with that change, if the coronavirus pandemic isn’t sufficiently put down in time for Election Day.

A Texas judge has issued a ruling that greatly enhances absentee and mail-in voting in Texas. The ruling’s most direct impact will be on the July primary runoff contests that were pushed back from late May. That damn pandemic got in the way of our runoffs, too.

Looking ahead to the big day in November, it remains my fervent hope that federal election officials are seeking ways to allow all Americans the chance to vote by mail if circumstances demand it. And — of course — Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump is railing against voting by mail.

He has leveled a specious argument that is similar to what he alleged after the 2016 election, that mail-in voting invites illegal voting by individuals. Again, just as he always does, Trump has leveled a charge without a scintilla of evidence to back it up. Do you recall how he alleged that 5 million undocumented immigrants cast votes in California enabling Hillary Rodham Clinton to roll up her impressive popular vote margin in 2016 over Trump? He never produced a shred of proof for any of that.

He’s at it again, saying a system that has worked well in the states that use mail-in voting is corrupt and that the results aren’t to be believed.

There is ample, overwhelming evidence to suggest that “widespread voter fraud” in this country is a phony argument. Yes, some ballots are cast illegally, but they comprise a teeny-tiny fraction of all the ballots cast.

Donald Trump likely is going to face Joe Biden later this year. The pandemic might preclude an election that we’ve always known it, resulting in a nationwide mail-in balloting system. We need not reinvent the wheel here.

Election experts in several states can help develop a mail-in national election system that is secure, that can be protected against potential fraud.

I am one American who prefers the pageantry of Election Day. I want to be able to cast my ballot the way I always have done when voting for president. If we cannot do so safely, without endangering our health, then I am all in on a mail-in system.

We must not knuckle under to the demagogic trash spewed by a president who — and this only is just my view — is sounding like someone who is petrified at the result a mail-in presidential election would produce.

Long lines, long delays need to be fixed

They’re standing in long lines to vote in Texas and elsewhere, or so we are being told. That has to stop.

I’ve never quite understood why voting on Election Day has to be such an arduous task for so many Americans. County election officials ought to know roughly how many voters to expect; they ought to be able to assign enough polling place judges to work those elections; they ought to deploy enough voting machines to accept the ballots.

Media reports tell us of long lines in Harris County, Dallas County, Tarrant County, Travis County. I live in Collin County, which has more than 1 million residents. Fortunately for my wife and me, we didn’t have to wait more than just a minute or two when we cast our ballots in our rural community.

This isn’t a partisan issue. Republicans run things in Texas and many Democrats accuse the state of deliberately making it difficult for Texans to vote; they call it “voter suppression.”

However, the long lines are occurring in states such as California and Virginia, where Democrats hold the power.

Whatever the case, and whichever party is in control, there needs to be legislation enacted at the state level to ensure that voters do not have to stand in line for hours on end just to do their civic duty and to perform this fundamental act of citizenship.